What do I look for in a good set of Bluetooth Headphones these days? Comfort, sound quality, battery life and a design that’s not so ‘in your face‘ with over the top branding and logos. The IdeaUSA AtomicX V201 Noise Cancelling, Wireless Headphones fit almost as neatly into my like-list as they do in the carry case the come in. Let’s take a closer look.
I was very pleased to see these headphones arrive inside a top quality semi-rigid hard case. More often than not, you’ll get a draw-string pouch which offers very little in the way of protection. The case has a carbon fiber surface to match the headphones and a zipped closure. Inside is a mesh pocket to keep the USB charging cable, AUX lead, and Aviation adapter. Along with the headphones and accessories, there’s also a 1-year warranty card and a user manual in multiple languages. The instructions are well written and are easy to follow. Another thing that is quite unusual to see when you get a lot of products these days.
The IdeaUSA AtomicX V201’s are surprisingly light (210g) and compact considering they are designed to fit fully over the ears. Their subtle design is not too dissimilar from the Bose Quiet Comfort 35’s. I wouldn’t go as far to say they are intentionally copying their look as I honestly don’t feel that they are. The crossed-hatch finish on the ear cups and straps do help to differentiate them. Had the surface been a plain matte black, you could quite easily stick a Bose badge on them and fool most people from a distance.
Active Noise Cancelling
In addition to generally cutting out externally sounds by enveloping your entire ear with a soft padded surround, the V201 feature active noise cancellation technology. This means the headphones contain a microphone which constantly listens for external noise, and attempt to cancel it out by playing an “anti-noise”. In theory, when the anti-noise and noise sound waves combine, the resulting sound will be diminished (though not completely gone).
So does it work? Somewhat, but on certain sounds better than others. The ANC feature actually operates independently of other audio sources. If I stood outside on a regular country day, birds, wind, a faint chainsaw in the background, I was able to cut out nearly all of the noise. If you wanted to just generally cut out of the level of noise without drowning it in music, this would work just fine. Since ANC is activated independently, it does mean that you need to turn off both your Bluetooth connection and the ANC when not using the headphones, as leaving the ANC on will slowly drain the battery.
Generally, it worked best on low, rumbling noises in the background, rather than high pitched bird calls or noise with a more dynamic range. The sound of cars driving by was dulled, but not eliminated. Rumbling construction noises from far away were almost completely cut. I imagine it would work well on a train car, but if you’re a city dweller, don’t expect to suddenly be surrounded in a bubble of silence.
The IdeaUSA AtomicX V201 headphones produce a well-balanced and natural sound. The aptX codecs ensure there is very little if any loss in quality when listening via Bluetooth. I couldn’t detect any difference when switching to a wired connection using the included audio cable.
The volume is good, I could hear no distortion, and it has just the right amount of bass to compliment the mids and highs. It’s worth noting that there is a slight difference to the sound stage when the ANC is activated. The bass drops a little and the audio feels a little more distant. It’s a small price to pay for ridding yourself of annoying environmental noise.
I’ve reviewed a lot of different headphones and earbuds and I have to say, for the price of $99.99 these compare with most all of the others within the same price range. For me personally they do the job and they do it well for not only listening to music but also for gaming as I did test these on a few games of Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
I have truly enjoyed the IdeaUSA AtomicX V201’s for various music listening experiences. As stated above, I’ve used them for listening to various genre’s of music as well as during my gaming time on the XBox One and the PS4. Definitely something I’d keep around and use again and not just throw in a box and forget about.
At a price of $99.99 currently, you really can’t go wrong in my opinion. While the ANC isn’t the greatest compared to other ANC headphones, it works and does it decently which is enough.
If you’re in the market for a new set of wireless headphones but don’t want to spend a ton of money and still get something that will work decently good, then the IdeaUSA AtomicX V201’s are definitely something worth checking out.